No Filter: A visit to the Vortex

FEATURE — Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Vortex is. You have to see for yourself. This week the “No Filter Show” co-hosts Grady Sinclair and Paul Ford visit The Vortex at the Lower Sand Cove Reservoir. It’s worth it to see Paul running in circles in The Bowl.

Watch the video up top.

“No Filter Show” Episode 139

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    • Brian May 8, 2017 at 9:39 am

      The thing they show in the video isn’t the surge tank. If there is a surge tank there it will be located at the bottom of the hill, near or attached to the power generating station.

      The vent pipe they point to is located at the top of the hill and is there to allow air into the system to avoid a vacuum being created when gravity causes the water in the pipe going down the hill to accelerate. When the water accelerates it creates a vacuum that tries to pull the water further up the line, in this case in the long nearly-level area up above, with it. The water on the level can’t accelerate fast enough to keep up with the water going down hill, creating an intense vacuum in the pipe that is more than strong enough to collapse the pipe.

      In fact, exactly this happened 3 years ago to a pipe near La Verkin hot springs, when the cold weather froze off the vent pipe, creating a vacuum that led to the catastrophic collapse of the pipeline:

      • Bender May 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        Your explanation makes sense. Thanks for correcting me.

      • Bender May 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

        On further thought Brian I think the stand pipe may be serving both purposes… surge tank and air valve (vent). A modern air valve is small device that allows the ingress of air when the pipe pressure goes below ambient and serves to prevent damage to a pipeline not designed for negative pressure. The age of the power canal infrastructure may have something to do with how they chose to solve this problem. It could be a stand pipe was the cheapest air vent solution at the time of construction. In any case the stand pipe, when empty, allows ingress of air into the steep column of water going down to the Gunlock power plant and prevents the collapse of the pipe (per your explanation). When the the stand pipe fills it both acts as a buffer and lessens water hammer when valves are closed.

  • wilbur May 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    saw the pipe this winter; water was spraying out the side of the pipe, half way up and frosting the entire area.

    very interesting scenario.

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